There were two different stories going on in this episode that didn't merge which is rare for the show. We had a little in the beginning with Damon and Stefan's scenes, but once Damon joined Elena and Stefan met with "Sarah," the stories went their separate ways. And, again, that is something we don't generally see on The Vampire Diaries. So, I'm going to take each storyline separately. Let's begin with the Salvatore Imposter.
Sarah Salvatore… Not!
Well, that was a completely unexpected twist. I so was not expecting that. (Erm, thus the unexpected part of the unexpected twist.) So, I'm guessing this means we will see the real Sarah Salvatore at some point, huh? I mean, this certainly leaves the door open for her to show up, right? And, wow, Stefan, I mean, wow. Talk about totally, totally Stefan to know about a family member this whole time and even saying that Damon isn't the same person to not tell his brother. Even now. Always keeping secrets. Never telling the whole story, only what he deems necessary, the truth according to Stefan Salvatore. You know, in earlier write-ups, I would get frustrated, worried that the show didn't see Stefan as I did, worried that they did see him as this shining, perfect hero because I bought into the media perception and overall fandom's disparagement of the writing on this show, but when I stopped reading all of that stuff and just began to trust my own judgment of what I saw in the writing that the show *did* know who Stefan was, I've had no frustration on that end. And episodes like this reward my interpretation.
Because, yup, The Vampire Diaries so knows its characters. Enzo basically flat-out said what I've been saying about Stefan for some time. OK, he said it in a nasty way because Enzo doesn't like Stefan and I luff him. Stefan's no different than the rest of these vampires; he just paints himself in pretty colors. What is so interesting storyline-wise is that Enzo managed to find the one person among their group who happens to be in just the right frame of mind to listen about this one particular vampire. What consequences this will reap, I don't know, but I am intrigued.
I love my Matty blue-blue, you all know that, but he will likely always have a teeny bit of a sore spot about Stefan Salvatore until he finds his true happiness. Rational or not, Matt still has those rebound issues tucked deep, deep down with Stefan because he was the guy who Elena hooked up with when Matt was still in love with her right after she broke up with him. So unlike everyone else, Matt can see past the pretty colors. He can see just who Stefan really is. We've seen this before like in "The Departed" when he questioned how Stefan could just let Elena make her own choice even if it was a really, really stupid one as long as it continued to make Elena starry-eyed about Stefan. Matt saw that that was mattered to Stefan. So Matt's suspicion of Stefan is not coming out of nowhere, we've seen strains and hints of this scattered throughout the series, popping up whenever Matt is having vampire-issues. Sure it's been directed a few times at Damon and Enzo, but it was towards Damon before he got to know him and Enzo, well, Enzo now because Enzo welcomes it.
But more on that later, let's get back to Sarah… or should I say Monique? Like I said I was not expecting that turn of events: her turning out to be an imposter. Also, I was not expecting her to die. Damn, Enzo! Stop killing the innocent(ish) peoples!
After Stefan compelled her to forget her whole Mystic Falls experience, I thought that she'd turn out to still have vervain on her or something, but I did not expect her to be killed. No, I did not. When she did though, that led to something I *have* been expecting which is the continuing pull of Matt from the vampires. He has been barely spending any time with Caroline and Elena, the vampires that would keep him seeing them as OK. He spent all summer being mentored by Tripp and then the last month or so basically being slowly brain-washed by Tripp. And then there is Enzo who is unrepentantly a "bad" vampire and Stefan—whom I may love—but he is a hypocrite and, back to Enzo, who is the main vampire that Matt's been dealing with since Tripp took him and Matt was watching him. Enzo dear has been pointing out that hypocrisy. Plus, as little time as Matt has been spending with Caroline, she is pissed at Stefan so she's been bitching about him.
And, call me delusional, but Matt did totally hero-worship—whether he'd admit it or not—Damon and Damon was gone. He's back now, but Matt hasn't even seen him and thus hasn't been put back under his thrall yet. So the three (OK four, but Rebekah ain't coming back) vampires who would get Matt to see vamps as not so horrible are not hanging around him pretty much at all right now, so he's stuck with Enzo (hello!) and Stefan—the vampire who pretends he's better than all the other vampires, but he's really not—which at this point would just piss Matt off even more.
Going back to the finale of last season, Matt made a comment to Jeremy about how great it would to be able to live in the town without vampires and it did catch my attention. Clearly that was where they were going with the character. Matt has had so much crap happen because of the vampire-element and none of it good. He's basically lost all of his girlfriends to vampirism in his mind (Elena, Caroline, even to a degree, Rebekah). He also lost what was left of his childhood, and his shot of getting out of Mystic Falls on any sort of football scholarship went with Tanner getting killed and losing the rest of their season. And that was due to Damon, thus vampirism. He really is not fond of vampirism. The story has been leading here. And right now he's got nothing to steer him to seeing the positive because Elena and Caroline can't be around him and because he's so anti-vampire right now, he's not really making much of an effort to see them.
But, but, but… there's Bonnie. I think Bonnie is the key. Or rather the glue. Liv, who is not a vampire wanted to go and help vampires (and leave the house). Tyler wanted her to stay. Matt sided with Liv—coincidentally on the side of the vampires. For Bonnie. And that was stated unequivocally. "It's for Bonnie." Which makes me wonder if, yeah, Bonnie will be the one who brings Matt back into the fold, if Bonnie is going to be the bridge between the vampires and the non-vampires because right now Matt and Jeremy and Tyler—with what he just did (Elena was *really* pissed off at him)—seem to be on opposite sides of the vampires. And now we have Matt pushing Jeremy to be all Hunter again and go after Enzo, which will upset Caroline. Uh huh.
So Bonnie… Bonnie is needed. Bonnie is missed.
Bonnie Bennett Come Home!
My heart just broke for Bonnie at the end. I've watched that final scene with her a few times and each time, I find myself nearly crying along with her. As she runs up to the house, onto the porch, opening the door, looking around, first she has hope, and then realization and then stoic, smiling acceptance because that is Bonnie. And then she just loses it because she's all alone. Completely alone again. This time she doesn't even have Damon who once upon a time was so not her favorite person, or psycho Kai who played nice. Nope, once again she's all on her own like she was when she was stuck on the Other Side without another soul. Gah, poor Bonnie.
And of course it's even worse because for the first time in nearly five months she had true, genuine hope without any reservations. No questions, no evil stranger to outwit, outlast and outplay, just her best friend since childhood and her new bestie waiting for her at the end of a long drive. But when she got there, they weren't there, and unlike Jeremy, she had believed it would happen. Oh, Bonnie.
And, oh, Jeremy. I totally get where he's coming from. I absolutely do. After his four months of falling apart, listening to Bonnie's voice mail and railing against her, getting drunk, and basically being a mess, he'd taken Damon's words to heart that Bonnie was at peace and was finally pulling himself together. And then Elena gave him hope. But without the actuality of Bonnie there already, the deed done, he didn't want the hope… not anymore because too many times he'd been let down, too many times he'd lost the people he loved. Too many times he'd lost Bonnie herself. So I get why Jeremy was upset. It's why Damon hadn't wanted to tell Elena in the first place himself in case they weren't able to bring Bonnie back, and why Damon hadn't told Jeremy himself once he knew. But of course Elena is Elena and she believed and she couldn't look at her brother and not tell him, just like she had to confirm it to Caroline when she overheard.
Still, with that said, Jeremy continues to totally act his age in being all about himself. Like with Alaric when he seemed to forget that he wasn't the only one who'd lost out, he's acting like just because Damon is back, that everything is fine and dandy in Elena-land. It is not. Elena did lose Damon just as Jeremy lost Bonnie. And she has him back now, but there are obviously extenuating circumstances that may keep her from ever actually having Damon back the way she did before. Her fault, but still it happened, and she can't do take-backs at this point. And Jeremy is so full of his own pain that he is showing zero empathy for anyone else. I'm not blaming him at all. I completely get it; I do. I'm just saying… there it is. And Elena obviously gets it too.
And she's getting Damon too. She's so not there all the way yet—not even close—but she's getting there. I mentioned in the write-up for "Do You Remember The First Time?" that it felt a little bit like Elena had her switch turned off in some of those moments with Damon. I wrote then that it was as if there were "moments here and there before Damon would break through and wrest some response from her that her heart, her body instinctively remembered before her blanked memories and thus her switched off-head took control." I felt some of that in this episode too. And I thought that again it made sense. There weren't as many, but it was just here and there, like she's beginning to feel things and then the "facts" of who he really is snap back and there's a quick shut down.
But mostly we just got Elena acting as Elena with him, getting to know him as he is now. And what was nice is that we got to see them get in that groove together without the specter of her feelings for Stefan hanging over them. In the past whenever Damon and Elena would hang out—like during season 03 whenever they spent any time together—there was always the shadow of Stefan. Well, that shadow is gone now. Now it's just Damon and Elena. And Elena knows that every moment she spends with him, his hope is that she'll fall in love with him all over again and that they'll get back to what they once had. That isn't a secret. And he knows that she's willingly spending these moments with him, allowing herself the opportunity *to* fall in love with him all over again. They're in this together even if he's already there.
Meaning that we are once more back to (almost) true and open lines of communication between these two. She feels safe and confident enough to push him to find out the truth when she sees through his (obvious) deflections. And then she tells him what she thinks is going on (that he pulled out all the stops—compelling Alaric—just to impress her and make her fall in love with him again). And then just as honestly Damon tells her the truth about him being there for Bonnie and not her. He opened up about himself and about his friendship with Bonnie, allowing himself to be vulnerable.
However, there's that (almost) bit above. He did slide a bit about the 1994 stuff with Gail and killing a pregnant woman and (he believes) his unborn niece. But I can understand why he didn't go into detail there. He did give her the broad outline of what he did, and he didn't lie that he did something really bad, just no specifics. And, again, I get why… because she already knows so much bad about him, does he really want to give her more ammunition at this point? Of course not. He's trying to make headway, not send her away.
And he is making headway. Right before Liv pulled them back into 2012 an hour early, Damon had begun to make some serious headway. Telling her in that soft voice that they would make new memories, his hand on her face, caressing her cheek. Elena was all lost in his gaze, accepting his touch. And he had that look on his face, he so was gonna go for a kiss and the look on her face, I'm not so sure that she wouldn't have been all for it… but then the air shifted and the white light struck and the mood was definitely broken.
Damnit, Liv. Or rather, damnit Kai! Why don't you give us another reason to take issue with you, why don't you?! Kai, Kai, Kai! This guy is gonna cause some serious problems, isn't he? Uh huh. But quick question… they were right next to the border, why did they have to pull Damon and Elena out then? Why couldn't they have just gone to Tyler's house, waited out the hour and then brought back Damon and Elena? I mean, it's not like Kai could have found them and/or used the magic there, right? Hmm, kinda easy quick fix there. I understand Elena's anger. It's like once again Liv is helping them until *she's* in danger and then someone else comes in and puts her life above the others who are at risk, leaving the others high and dry. And in this case, it's not her twin—understandable, but freaking Tyler. Yeah, I totally get Elena's anger. She's really tired of those that she loves getting shafted for Liv's safety… especially when Liv has tried to kill her a few times, ya know?
And I get why Damon and Elena were just sitting there at Bonnie's tombstone, commiserating over the fact that they were *so* close to getting her back, but yeah, it would have been smarter to go somewhere not just out in the open since they knew that Kai was there in 2012 and with magic. But, then, on the other hand, how exactly did Kai know how to find them or was he just wandering around aimlessly… or was he tracking Liv and had followed her there about ten minutes behind? I dunno. Very plot-pointy. Not the bestest… but hey, Brian Young *did* co-write this episode. Yeah. Brian Young.
So Kai showed up, destroyed the ascendant and Damon, despite knowing that Kai had magic, tried to fight him and got his ass kicked until Damon sent him into the no-magic zone. Fun. Hmm, OK, then. Moving on and let's go back to the beginning here with Damon and Elena where I said that she's getting Damon because after Alaric showed up, she was there for him. And I think that was honestly my favorite moment with them. Even more than the whipped cream fangs. (You didn't think I was going to forget that, did you? More on those later.)
Ah, Alaric. I really hope this is leading to a cathartic conversation of some sorts between Ric and Damon because they really need it, I think. Firstly, let me say that I understand why Ric was mad at Damon. I said after the last episode that I understood why Damon compelled Alaric to get the ascendant from Jo because Bonnie over Jo no question, and hey, Ric took Elena's memories of loving Damon, fair is fair. What I didn't realize when I wrote that was how much deeper that actually goes with these two. Because more than anger what Ric was feeling was betrayed, but going back to it, that is exactly what Damon felt. When he found out that Ric had compelled away Elena's memories of her love for Damon, Damon felt betrayed by Ric, that his best friend could do that to him. Again, let me repeat as I've said often in the past, I absolutely get why Ric did it. He absolutely believed that Damon was dead, gone forever and he was not only thinking of what was best for Elena, but that Damon would want him to do this for Elena because it was what was best for Elena. However, since Damon wasn't dead, Damon can't help but feel that Ric betrayed him by doing it. He just can't help it because, damnit, Ric should have known! He came back from the dead after all! It can happen! He shouldn't have given up so soon.
So I'm hoping we're going to see a conversation between the two where that betrayal both feel now is discussed. They've been through a lot as friends with *a lot* put on that friendship going back to what Esther did and the consequences of that. A real conversation is rather due. Maybe we are heading there, maybe that was even partially the point of the compelling of Ric to get the ascendant because it obviously wasn't to bring Bonnie back! What it did do was set up dual, understandable, emotional betrayals on both ends. We'll see. I really don't want it to have just been a way to make Damon the bad guy and absolve Ric for what he did. I want it to be a way to put them on equal ground and get them to a better, healthier place. I really hope so because Damon and Ric need to repair this relationship and part of that reparation needs to be in Damon knowing that Ric feels truly bad for his part in erasing Elena's memories. Because once again we had Damon at the end there taking all the blame on himself for all that went wrong. He took every hit from Ric. He was recounting every step Bonnie was taking, feeling as much of her pain and loss as he could fathom and blaming himself for them not being there and for giving her false hope.
But, and this is why it was my favorite Damon and Elena moment, he wasn't alone. Elena was there with him, listening to his pain, sharing it with him. She put her hand on his shoulder, squeezing tightly, offering comfort, silently letting him know he wasn't alone, that he wasn't in this alone. She was there with him… for him. And instead of keeping his back to her, he turned *to* her.
All of these things, Elena being effected by Damon, Elena listening to Damon, turning to him, being there for him, Elena believing him, believing in him, etc. all happened before when she fell for him, but they happened over an extended period of time. Now they are happening at an accelerated pace because, of course, she's already in love with him, those feelings are just locked behind mental barriers. And this is what we wanted, to see her fall in fast-forward without Stefan as part of the equation. And that's what we're getting.
OK, then, time for randoms –
- I liked the callbacks. Damon mentioning that if Stefan doesn't deal with stuff he'll wind up lying on the middle of the road having an existential crisis, calling back to that awesome scene from "The Descent." Plus, Lucy Bennett reference! Aww, I loved Lucy. Nice to know that they can just call her up and get help from her if needed.
- Hmm, was that Liv and Tyler's first kiss? Or did they have their first kiss off-screen? And what does it say that I'm not sure?! Not cool, show. So not cool! Uhm, and did they decide to become an actual, for-reals couple off-screen? That's so not cool. We should have had another episode dealing with this couple stuff, damnit! That couch scene was not enough. Still, kissy-face! And, ooh, I loved her little cute wave goodbye to him and how he looked so smitten.
- So, now Damon and Elena are discussing Stefan and Caroline. OK, then. Man, Stefan and Caroline sure are water-cooler conversation, aren't they?
- OMG! Elena stopping Damon from eating his pancakes so she could put the whipped cream fangs on the blueberries just like he did. OMGx2!! And then, and then, and then, his delighted reaction was just adorbs!! He just looked at her like he was so, so, so in love. Awww!
- I loved Kai remarking on the irony of Olivia's nickname of "Liv."
- I like that we had the dialogue of Kai explaining that their dad had erased all memory of him because I was thinking that I knew she was a kid when she last saw him, but how could she not recognize him at all? So that was good and it was done very organically. I especially loved the mention of the turkey hand. Bwahahahaha. Chris Wood as Kai is just so fantastically good.
- Who didn't see the cab driver's murder coming?
- I guess I can buy Caroline vacationing with her mom since she didn't know they were going after Bonnie right then, but you'd just figure that she'd be all searching for a way to find her. Hmm, I guess she could do that from anywhere, even on vacation.
- Yeah, I'm not even remotely for Caroline and Enzo, but I did love his line about her being the one girl who there was nothing wrong with. Aww!
- How bad-ass do Damon and Elena look in my icon?
- Man, Bonnie's middle name is Sheila! Did we know that? I think we knew that, but it still gets me every time I see it.
- I'm glad that Damon made it clear that he was doing this for Bonnie and not Elena. I'm sure that people will question that, but remember Elena came to him, not the other way around, Damon didn't even tell her about all that was going on. It was Alaric who did. Damon didn't go to her, she came to him and wanted to tag along. So there.
- Speaking of Damon and Bonnie, I loved, loved, loved Damon threatening Kai about hurting Bonnie and then Bonnie's "That was so sweet. Why'd you have to ruin it by calling me annoying?" I can't wait until everyone sees how Damon and Bonnie are friends. I just can't even wait!
I was feeling a bit eh so that may have affected my viewing of the episode, but I thought this one was the weakest of the season, still very good. I'm looking forward to next week, though, mid-season finale, very exciting!!